Kua kā kē ngā ahi: The fires are already alight and alive – Rekindling relationships, practices and knowledge of kai amongst tamariki and rangatahi of Ngāti Ruaka, Whanganui River
Wānanga (traditional learning forums) focused on teaching tamariki (children) and rangatahi (youth) to hopu tuna (catch eels) has led to the consolidation of hapū (sub-tribe) projects and facilitation of wānanga, that seek to share knowledge intergenerationally on tikanga (culturally and contextually appropriate practices) associated with whakapapa (genealogical connections), kai (food) gathering and environmental restoration.
Te Morehu Whenua – the name bestowed upon this group of tamariki and rangatahi by their pahake (elders) and Ngāti Ruaka hapū – reminds participants of their connection to their remnant ancestral lands and environs, and their inherent responsibilities to these special places and spaces. This is particularly important, given the majority of participants live away from their ancestral lands, and knowledge imparted through wānanga is not generally accessible.
This presentation will describe some of the learnings to date from wānanga on tuna and kākahi (freshwater mussels), from the perspective of five rangatahi. These rangatahi affiliate to Rānana Marae, Whanganui River, and have whakapapa connections to Ngāti Ruaka and other hapū from the Rānana area. Of significance is that the wānanga allow tamariki and rangatahi to re-establish their connections with each other, traditional kai and the environment, and help to foster an appreciation for what it means to actively rekindle one’s ahi kā (ancestral fires of occupation) and to learn and practice tikanga of the hapū.